We took advantage of the warm weather the last few weeks to get started on this year's projects. I am fencing out the rest of the cleared land for a pasture, and at this point most of the wood posts are in. Earlier in spring, I was able to plan out where to put a pond. The combination of melting snow, frozen ground, and dormant vegetation made it very easy to see where water likes to collect on our land. The pond site stretches far further into the trees than I had thought, so I had to change some of my fence lines to compensate. The pond will be completely fenced out from livestock, to protect the riparian habitat that will develop.
I've also nearly completed a combination brooder/cold frame/raised-bed garden/winter chicken house in our back yard. This will allow me to keep 12 laying hens through the winter, and brood up to 250 chicks at a time.
The livestock plans for this year include laying hens, broiler chickens, turkeys, and a beef steer. If everything goes well we might add a pig this year, but we aren't definitely planning on it until next year. We will be using a pasture-based forage model. All of the animals will have continual access to fresh grass in an intensive grazing system. My primary goal this year is to produce enough meat to never have to buy any from the grocery store again. The secondary goal is to begin finding customers for direct marketing of our produce, meat, and eggs.
Paul has most of his garden planned out, but I'll let him write about that.
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